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Creator / Grim Natwick

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One of the most influential animators in history, Grim Natwick, born Myron Noidveig on August 16, 1890, had a decades long career that spanned the majority of The Silent Age of Animation and the near-entirety of both the The Golden Age of Animation and The Dark Age of Animation, having worked at most of the major cartoon studios of the time.

Initially a professional illustrator (a compilation of his sheet music covers from the 1910s can be viewed here), Natwick entered the animation industry in 1919, contributing to the Judge Rummy shorts for J.R. Bray's studio. Following a series of stints across multiple short series (including the mid-1920s animated adaptation of Krazy Kat), Natwick was hired by Fleischer Studios at the dawn of the sound era in 1930. Rapidly assuming the role of a pivotal animator on the Talkartoons series, Natwick would play a significant role in the initial design and characterization of Betty Boop. Following this success, Natwick's position as a noteworthy veteran animator was effectively solidified: following his first tenure at Fleischer (with Bimbo's Initiation featuring his final animation for the studio), he both animated and played a supervisory role at the Ub Iwerks studio, animated a third of Snow White herself in Disney's feature length film, became a top animator at Walter Lantz's studio and UPA, and, during the Dark Age of the 1970s, served as a mentor and animator for Richard Williams (hence the animation he contributed to Williams' unfinished epic The Thief and the Cobbler in his early nineties).

Natwick died on October 7, 1990, two months after celebrating his 100th birthday.

He was also lifelong friends with fellow veteran animator James "Shamus" Culhane, as well as industry pioneer and animator Bill Nolan.

You can find the whole story of this underrated animation master in this Animation Resources article.


Works of his include:

  • Fire Bugs (Talkartoons)
  • Wise Flys
  • Dizzy Dishes
  • Swing, You Sinners!
  • Mariutch
  • Accordian Joe
  • Mysterious Mose
  • Please Go 'Way And Let Me Sleep (1931)
  • Teacher's Pest
  • Tree Saps
  • Bimbo's Initiation: Final animation contributed during first stint at Fleischer Studios.
  • The New Car: First stint at the Ub Iwerks studio.
  • Jail Birds
  • Africa Squeaks
  • The Milk Man (1932)
  • The Office Boy
  • Room Runners
  • Stormy Seas
  • The Goal Rush
  • Phoney Express
  • The Music Lesson
  • Soda Squirt (1933)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • Robin Hood Jr. (1934)
  • Insultin' the Sultan
  • Reducing Creme
  • Cave Man
  • Jungle Jitters
  • Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
  • Viva Willie
  • The King's Tailor
  • Old Mother Hubbard (1935)
  • Summertime
  • Sinbad the Sailor
  • Mickey's Fire Brigade: First stint at Disney.
  • The Cookie Carnival
  • The Three Bears
  • Simple Simon
  • Broken Toys
  • Mickey's Polo Team (1936)
  • Ali Baba
  • Dick Whittington's Cat: Final Iwerks short to which he contributed.
  • Alpine Climbers
  • Little Boy Blue
  • Three Little Wolves
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Animated a third of Snow White herself in the film.
  • Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938): Final animation for Disney.
  • Gulliver's Travels (animation director): Earliest credit for Natwick following his return to Fleischer Studios in 1938.
  • The Fulla Bluff Man (1940)
  • Popeye Presents Eugene the Jeep (1940)
  • Take Heed Mr. Tojo (1943): First animation credit for Walter Lantz Productions.
  • Abou Ben Boogie (1944)
  • Ski For Two
  • Enemy Bacteria (1945)
  • Pied Piper of Basin Street
  • Chew-Chew Baby
  • The Dippy Diplomat
  • Who's Cookin' Who? (1946)
  • Bathing Buddies
  • The Reckless Driver
  • Fair Weather Fiends
  • The Wacky Weed
  • Smoked Hams (1947)
  • The Coo-Coo Bird
  • Well Oiled
  • Solid Ivory
  • The Bandmaster: Final credit at Lantz.
  • Trouble Indemnity (1950): First credit for UPA.
  • The Popcorn Story
  • Bungled Bungalow
  • Rooty Toot Toot (1951): Responsible for the faintly rubberhose-inspired animation of the Femme Fatale Nellie Bly.
  • Georgie And The Dragon
  • Spare the Child (1954)
  • Terror Faces Magoo (1959): Final credit for UPA.
  • Felix the Cat (Trans-Lux TV series)
  • The Mighty Hercules (TV series) (1963): directing animator - 3 episodes; Double Trouble, Guarding of the Olympic Torch, & Medusa's Sceptre)
  • A Christmas Carol (1971): First major collaboration with Richard Williams.
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977): Credited with animating "Everything and Everyone Else" (referring, presumably, to several crowd shots during the Loonie Land sequence).
  • The Thief and the Cobbler (1993/1995): Grim, working alongside his apprentice Richard Williams, animated the Witch in the film in its earlier incarnations; he would ultimately retire during the early '80s aged over 90. Due to extensive revisions in narrative and character design following his departure, only a fragment of his animation (albeit redrawn) remains within the film's 1992 workprint and the later "Recobbled Cut" edits.

Tropes:

  • Non-Indicative Name: Despite his nickname, Grim was anything but in personality. He was considered one of the greatest animators to work with, and he inspired a lot of passion and drive into animators who worked under him.
  • Speech Impediment: Footage of him shows that he had a serious stuttering issue. This is worked into the character Grim Matchstick in Cuphead, who's named after him.

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